The appointed lesson for this coming Sunday, the last Sunday after Epiphany, Year C, is Exodus 34:29-35
. This would be a rich passage to preach on. It recounts Moses' return from Mount Sinai shining with holiness and the glory of God. This passage evidences the editorial hand of the HS priestly editors, strongly reflecting their emphasis on God's sanctifying power.
After having conversed with God, the skin of Moses' face flashes with beams or rays of glory, and he does not even realize it. In HS theology, that's what happens when you are in the presence of God, as Moses was. Something of the divine glory remains with you, and it shows. God's presence and light naturally beams out to fill our lives with beauty and power. Such visible glory attracts our innermost longings. It is truly the object of our deepest desires.
God's holiness is far from safe. At first, Aaron and all the people shrink back in awe and fear (34:30). Moses finds that he must veil his face when he is not in God's presence. It is not that he wants to keep God's power from us; it's just that we are not yet ready to receive it in its full force. Moses prevents us from seeing more than we can handle. How might we open ourselves to receive more of the bright, stinging influx of God's transformative holiness? There are rich possibilities here for the homilist to explore.
In the theology of HS, we nurture God's holy presence with us through both acts of justice and acts of worship. We make space in our lives to build community and to commune with God. Creating such space in our lives today is a huge challenge. Our lives are full with commitments and activities and pleasurable leisure opportunities. This passage reminds us, however, that life's real thrills for which our souls truly long have their one true source in the spiritual sun of God's glory.